EDF Energy has announced that the Sizewell B nuclear plant is back online following the replacement of one of its two turbine rotors.
The nuclear plant was taken offline in February 2023 to conduct a maintenance programme costing £80 million. Turbine Generator 1 was brought offline, followed by Turbine Generator 2, with Current± reporting that work was scheduled to take 66 days and would include replacing turbine rotors as well as routine servicing of valves, pumps, and motors.
EDF said that the work would enable another 18 months of low carbon power generation with the company now investing £300 million in the nuclear plant over three years to improve its performance and make a case for extending the site’s lifespan to 2055.
The work involved replacing one of the two rotors that turn the power-generating turbine, and one of the four reactor cooling pumps. The outage enabled an inspection of the primary circuit pipes for any signs of stress corrosion cracking. EDF reported that the primary circuit was given “a clean bill of health”.
Robert Gunn, Sizewell B station director, said: “ This was a particularly important outage for us as we deliver the 10 year plan for the station. We know the importance of energy security and the role nuclear power plays in limiting carbon emissions. Since we switched the station off in February we have systematically worked through a checklist of thousands of tasks to ensure the station has a clean bill of health and is set up for a successful future.”
Work on Sizewell B and the planned Sizewell C next door to the current site will see a new generation of engineers being trained, and Sizewell B plans to grow its workforce by 10% to support long term operations at the site. The site currently employs 800 people.
Suffolk’s operating power station was connected to the grid on 14 February 1995 and has so far saved 85m tonnes of Co2 emissions. The site employs 800 people and is worth £40 million to the local economy each year.
EDF stated that “Sizewell B, Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C could deliver reliable low carbon power for more than 15million homes and enable the growth of the UK renewables sector.”